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McKinnon will not be extradited to the US, says Home Secretary

Whole US extradition system may be 'streamlined'

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The Home Secretary has blocked Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US.

In a statement to Parliament on Tuesday, Theresa May said that long-running extradition proceedings against the 46 year-old Asperger's Syndrome sufferer would be withdrawn on medical and human rights grounds. Psychiatrists warned that the Scot was likely to attempt suicide and was not strong enough to withstand the stress and trauma of a US trial and likely imprisonment.

May told Parliament there was "no doubt" McKinnon was seriously ill as a result of Aspergers and depression and at a "high risk of ending his life". She said that after taking careful advice from medical and legal experts she has decided withdraw extradition proceedings.

Instead of sending him to the US, UK prosecutors will now review whether McKinnon can be tried in Britain.

McKinnon's family and supporters have fought a high profile campaign against extradition over the last seven years, since US extradition proceedings began. McKinnon was first arrested by UK police in 2002 over a series of attacks against 97 US Pentagon and Nasa targets during 2001 and 2002.

The Home Secretary also announced proposed changes to the UK-US extradition procedures. A UK judge will now review whether it makes sense in the "interests of justice" for extradition targets to be tried in Britain in cases where they could come to trial in either country. She expressed a desire to streamline arrangements to minimise delays.

US authorities have described McKinnon as responsible for "the biggest military computer hack of all time" whilst McKinnon and his spokespersons have characterised him as a bumbling nerd who was hunting for evidence of UFOs, anti-gravity propulsion systems and supposedly-suppressed extraterrestial technology on fundamentally insecure systems.

The McKinnon case has become a cause célèbre over recent years, attracting political and celebrity support from a variety of sources including London Mayor Boris Johnson, former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and the Daily Mail, among many others. ®

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